Live Q&A with Robert King of the Angola 3
Robert King Robert King speaks about the Angola 3 © Amnesty International, 2012

What would you ask a man who has spent the most part of three decades in solitary confinement?

How he got through the days, years, decades alone in a tiny cell?
How he claimed justice?
What he’s doing now?

Well, tomorrow’s your chance. Post your questions for Robert on this blog

Robert King is an extraordinary man. Now in his seventies, Robert is the only free member of the Angola 3 – three men placed in isolation in Louisiana’s notorious ‘Angola’ prison in the early ‘70s. Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace were convicted of murdering a prison guard in ’72; Robert was convicted of the murder of another Angola prisoner the following year. Robert, Albert and Herman have always maintained their innocence of these crimes. Evidence appears to corroborate their claims, and suggest that the Louisiana authorities served the sentences and condemned the men to decades of solitary under racially and politically motivated circumstances.

Punished for their political beliefs

Angola in the ‘70s was a brutal place to be. Inmates were racially segregated, patrolled only by white prison guards, and sexual slavery was rife. Albert and Herman founded the Angola prison chapter of the Black Panther Party, with the hope of demanding basic rights for themselves and their fellow inmates from within a discriminatory and often corrupt system. Robert soon joined their cause. Their political activism and demand for racial equality appears to be a large factor in not only charging the men with the crimes, but keeping them in solitary, or as it’s known in Angola, Closed Cell Restricted (CCR) units.

Robert walked out of Angola a free man in 2001 after successfully challenging his conviction. He’d spent 29 of the years up until that day in solitary.

Albert and Herman: 41 years and counting

Robert often says “although I am free of Angola, Angola is not free of me”. He’s devoted his free life to campaigning for justice for his friends Albert and Herman, still unjustifiably being held by Louisiana authorities in CCR. Now in their sixities and seventies, Albert and Herman are mentally and physically battered by nearly four decades of isolation. But Robert will not give up asking for justice. And we stand beside him.

There is hope that Albert and Herman will one day walk free. Earlier this year, Albert's original conviction was overturned on the grounds of racial discrimination in the grand jury foreperson - although Louisiana authorities plan to appeal this ruling. In 2006 a State Judicial Commission recommended that Herman's conviction be reversed. However, the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected this recommendation and denied his appeal without comment. Herman's case is now before the federal courts.

What would you ask Robert?

We’re honoured to host a live Q&A with Robert tomorrow afternoon.

This is your chance to get the inside on his experience in Angola, of decades of isolation, and find out how you can support the campaign for justice for Albert and Herman. Or anything you fancy!

Leave your questions in a comment on this post, and we’ll ask as many as we’re able tomorrow.

Watch Robert answer at 2pm tomorrow

We’ll broadcast live tomorrow at 2pm. You can watch live on youtube, or on this post, below. (The video will activate once we're live tomorrow.)

In the meantime, let us know what you’d like Robert to talk about!

Update - we're having some issues with our blog comments - if you're unable to comment you can also leave a question on Facebook

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3 comments

Spending so much time in isolation must have been so difficult, what sort of things did you think about the most and were there particular thoughts that kept you strong?

Robert I have huge amounts of respect for you and the work that you have done since being released. I wondered is it in part driven by a sort of 'survivors guilt' from being the only one of the Angola 3 to be freed?

I would like to ask Robert how he first met Herman and Albert, and if he's spoken to them recently. How are they both?